A COMMUNITY scheme to ensure bus travel remains as safe as possible for the elderly in Clacks has been launched recently.

While a bus journey is one of the safest ways to get around, a bump that might be brushed off by most of us could lead to a loss of confidence and independence or a serious injury for an older person.

In a prevention effort, police, bus companies and other partners have teamed up to make bus travel a little safer, with the campaign launched in several areas, including Alloa.

The initiative, which began last week, will include a series of social media messages issued on Police Scotland and partner channels outlining the steps to take to get on, ride and then get off the bus safely.

This is complemented by a leaflet which will be available on buses aimed at those who have a concessionary card, and a police-led training message which will be delivered to drivers in the Forth Valley areas.

Sergeant Kos Papakyriakou, who has spearheaded this pilot project, said: “Every injury that an older person suffers on a bus can hugely affect them, their friends, relatives and neighbours, even if it seems very minor.

“They could lose their confidence to travel and thus their independence, they could suffer injury which could affect their quality of life, or worse.

“From speaking to bus companies and organisations that represent older people, we found that a lot of the incidents where passengers have been hurt could easily have been prevented through education.

“Our approach has three strands: Outlining to bus drivers how they can help their passengers get to their destinations safely as well as what happens should there be an incident on a bus; giving simple advice to older passengers to give them the confidence to use the services; and raising general awareness for travellers so they can pass this on to older friends and relatives as well as be patient and courteous to older passengers.”

The training video and leaflets will initially cover Lothian routes in Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian, and First Bus services in Alloa, as well as West Lothian, Falkirk and Stirling.

Walter Herring, head of operational risk at Lothian Buses, added: “Through our partnership with Police Scotland and working alongside other bus operators, we have been able to contribute to this important campaign that we hope will encourage new and existing customers onto our buses in the knowledge they can travel in confidence and safety.”